Marilyn Nabor, an experienced high school mathematics teacher in the Philippines, moved to Italy 14 years ago with high hopes of honing her craft in the country of Galileo and Fibonacci.

Now age 49, she works as a housekeeper in Rome, counting cobwebs and crockery, and has abandoned hope of returning to her former calling. "This country does not recognize our diploma or curriculum from the Philippines," she said. "I cannot get professional work."

Even gaining qualifications in Italy didn't help Abhishek, a 26-year-old migrant from India who got a master's degree in mechanical engineering at Turin's Polytechnic University last year.